Mary Magdeline with the Smoking Flame, Georges de la Tour
Though little is known of Georges de la Tour’s personal life, his fame was widespread because of his ability to paint atmospheric light and moving spiritual scenes. While his early works were painted in a Mannerist style, de la Tour would later fall heavily under the influence of Caravaggio and his use of chiaroscuro. At the peak of his career, he painted dramatically candlelit interior scenes; later on, de la Tour dramatically simplified his forms and subjects, preserving only essential details. This stylistic change gave his work a quality of abstraction unique for its time. De la Tour’s patrons and clients were usually from the wealthier classes and in 1639, he was appointed to the position of “Peintre du Roi,” or the painter of the king.